Election Day – Finally

I’ve already made my predictions (Part I, Part II, Part III). I am now ready to vote–finally! Actually, I have been for a few years. It’s pretty simple for me: straight Republican for this election; however, I won’t be pushing the “Straight Republican” button on the machine. Why? There’s just more satisfaction for me for selecting each candidate. Here’s my list:

  • President: Mitt Romney (Paul Ryan VP)
  • US Senator: Tom Smith
  • US Congress (4th District): Scott Perry
  • Attorney General: David Freed
  • State Treasurer: Diana Irey Vaughan
  • PA General Assembly Representative: Stan Saylor
  • Auditor General: John Maher

To be completely honest, I’m not even sure yet if I’ll vote in the morning before work, or in the evening after I get off of work. I’m leaning for the morning. And of course, I’ll be up late watching the results come in. I remember doing this for the first time in 2000 (I was 13 then…yes, I’m a nerd for this stuff!), staying up until 2AM, going to bed, then waking up to hear that the election was still a tossup. Hopefully, it won’t be this time around.

As an aggregate from what I’ve heard, I’ll give you a taste of things to watch out for, to see which way things are trending.

  1. 6:00PM EST | Indiana is one of the first “battleground-ish” states to close its polls (though it should have no problem going for Romney). Indiana has to be called early for Romney. If it takes a few hours, Republicans will be in trouble.
  2. 7:00PM EST | Florida and Virginia are the big states to close at this time. If both are called for Romney before 9:00PM, this will be a good night for Romney.
  3. 8:00PM EST | This is the big one. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan all close at 9. Of course, there could be some polls open later because of long lines, but overall, between 8PM and 10PM, I think the election will be decided. If any of these states get called for any candidate before 9PM, the night will look very bright for that candidate. If Romney wins ONE of these, the contest is OVER. If Obama holds all of them (especially Ohio), it will be tough for Romney to win–nearly requiring a miracle.
  4. 9:00PM EST | Colorado comes up at this hour. If Ohio ends up swinging in Romney’s favor, and he ends up losing several of the other tossups (like Virginia, New Hampshire, or Iowa), Colorado will push him over the top, theoretically. If Obama picks up Colorado, along with Virgina and Iowa after Romney wins Ohio, then Mr. Obama could still eek out a victory. Wisconsin is of course here as well. Romney would have to have it if he loses Ohio. Otherwise, the state doesn’t mean quite as much to either candidate.

And a few tips from me to my fellow conservative voters:

  • Don’t let the exit polls that might be leaked in the afternoon do ANYTHING to you. Don’t say, “Oh, it looks like Obama’s going to win. I’ll just vote next time.” That’s what the Democrats want you to do. That’s what they tried to do in the 2004 elections when Bush won, as well as the recent Wisconsin recall election. If we would have went by the leaked exit polls in Wisconsin, then Walker would have lost handily. Note: he won by 5 points.
  • Make sure your vote is counted. If somehow you are not on your precinct’s registration list (because you moved recently, ended up at the wrong polling place, etc.) make sure you get to the right polling place.
  • Don’t let long lines hinder you. If the polling place is about to close, make sure that you stay in line.

And on a much more important note:

If Mitt Romney is elected President, the Senate flips to Republican control, and the House stays solidly red, then guess what? In the long run as Christians, this means pretty much nothing. Yes, I am a conservative. I believe in free-market, capitalist economics. I am pro-life, pro-gun, pro-freedom of religion, and pro-limited-government. But my political beliefs are gong to change our country to what it needs to be at heart. I am reminded of this so much when reading biographies of historic preachers (Edwards, Moody, Spurgeon,  Torrey, Finney, among others)? They never were involved in preaching a “vote this guy in, and revival will come” gospel. What did they pray for? A Spiritual Awakening: one preaches the Living Christ; that floods the aisles with converts; that mends families; that rescues the needy; that strives for Godly Holiness. This is what we need as a nation. Sure, a political victory is great to have. But what does it matter in eternity? Vote on Election Day. Vote for God’s moral values. Vote for freedom. But never forget Whom we serve for eternity!

I would recommend reading Joel Rosenberg’s Implosion for more on this subject.

2012 Presidential Election Predictions – Part III – Real Deal

It is now the day before the Presidential Election, and so far I have shown some of the basis for my prediction methodology, as well as the states that have a chance to swing to either candidate, but are leaning one way or the other. I have eight states that I think are true “tossups.” Many would disagree with me on whether they think these states are tossups or not, but I feel pretty confident (based on polls and other non-professional observations) that these states could go either way. So far, not counting these eight states, we have a map and tally that looks something like this:

Barack Obama: 223

Mitt Romney: 206

First off, I feel that I need to explain a highly critical factor in these states, without having to repeat the same sentences for each prediction. GOP turnout is enthusiasm is not quite at a 1984 level, but it is definitely higher than 2008. Even Democrats must admit that conservative voters did a horrible job showing up to vote for the McCain ticket. Even Republicans were tired of the Washington cronyism that had prevailed for the two or three years leading up to 2008. Barack Obama not only rode a huge wave of liberalism spurred on by the anti-war sentiment and economic peril, but he also rode on the lack of conservative enthusiasm. He will not have that luxury in 2012. We must not forget that the American people have already rejected Barack Obama and his policies once in 2010. Though this election will not be near the tsunami that occurred in the previous midterm, the majority of the same sentiment still exists. We will see to what extent tomorrow.

The following states and my predictions are in order of least competitive, to most competitive (subjectively speaking).


The good ol’ Sunshine State! According to the majority of polls in the past month, Florida is leaning slightly to Romney or tied. I’ve heard from plenty of pundits that Florida is a microcosm of the country, which I tend to agree with. The western side of the state is heavily Republican, the eastern side favors Democrats (minus Jacksonville and the Cuban population), the panhandle is not much different from the rest of the deep south (except Tallahassee), and there’s the geographical region that is mentioned over and over again: the I-4 Corridor (from Tampa, through Orlando, and up to Daytona Beach). Based on polls, voter enthusiasm, the retired population, and national trends, I think that Florida will be more like the 2004 election than the 2008 election. Florida’s large lot of 29 electors is going to Mitt.

New Hampshire

I just finished my first trip to New Hampshire about a month ago, and found a state where, ironically, the citizens that live the metropolitan ares trend Republican, while those in the more rural areas trend Democrat. New Hampshire has become more and more like its neighbors Vermont and Massachusetts in the past couple of decades. Granted that free-spirited attitude that prevails among the people still shines, which gives Mitt Romney some hope, but I think that New Hampshire is going to be in Barack Obama’s column. Romney still has a very good chance here, but the demographics of the state are trending Obama’s way. 4 electoral votes to Mr. Obama.


Iowa is another state, like New Mexico, I cannot quite wrap my head around. If the average person were to drive through the state, and get to know its people, they would think that the state is not much different from its neighbors Nebraska or Missouri (at least the Northern half). But Iowa has a long Democratic tradition, stemming from the university campuses and…well…tradition! Iowa also gave President Obama his somewhat unexpected victory in the 2008 Democratic primaries over Hillary Clinton. The state has a heart for Obama. For Governor Romney, he has the national rural and suburban trends helping him out, along with the endorsement of the Des Moines Resgister, which endorsed Obama in 2008. Some polls are showing a tie, several show Mr. Obama ahead, and a few show Mr. Romney ahead. I have a feeling that we are going to see Iowa, and its 6 electoral college votes, go to Barack Obama. This is going to be a very close one, though, that all depends on turnout.


This state is going to be fun to watch. I think that the Colorado conservative vote is really going to come out of the woodwork in 2012. Early voting is showing some promising signs for Mitt Romney. However, Mr. Obama has a strong and growing presence in Denver, and with the Latino vote. This helped Michael Bennet defeat Ken Buck in the 2010 midterms, and will again help Obama in the presidential. But with the crowd sizes, and conservative national trend, I have a hard time seeing Mitt Romney lose Colorado, and its 9 electors. The Republican get-out-the-vote effort has been successful to a large extent, and the early voting numbers have not been very positive for Mr. Obama.


I had the privilege of seeing the newly announced vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan hold a campaign rally in Fairfax County, Virginia a couple of months ago, and let me tell you, Virginia is ready for President Romney. This state is still mostly a  conservative state, but mainly because of the growth around DC (one of the most liberal tracks of land in the nation), they picked Obama in 2008. Also, I believe that a lot of rural voters decided to give Obama in chance in 2008; in part because Bush left a sour taste in their mouth, an also because there was a national wave of enthusiasm for Obama. Due to the fact that Republicans won handily in the 2009 Governor’s race by electing Bob McDonnell, as well as captured several congressional seats, I think that Mr. Romney will do well here–even to the point where it may help elect George Allen back to the senate. Virginia, and its 13 votes will also be in Mitt Romney’s column. 


This one is my surprise. I know that most will disagree with me on Pennsylvania, but I’m feeling a ton of Romney enthusiasm. Philadelphia and its suburbs will make or break it, not only for the states electors, but also for the race in general. Philadelphia city population growth is stagnant. This is the liberal stronghold of the state. The Philadelphia suburbs are a tossup. Mr. Obama must offset Romney’s votes in the suburbs by turning out the inner-city vote in droves. There is also the western part of the state, centered around Pittsburgh, but also including all of the rural vote surrounding it. This region is not going to be very friendly to Barack Obama like it was in 2008. They have coal, guns, and faith on their minds (“bitter clingers”, as they were once referred to). In all of those categories, Democrats are not well liked. I believe that we will see a sizable group of Democrats cross the aisle and vote for Mr. Romney this time. This trend may be seen throughout the state, and possibly throughout the country tomorrow. I am stepping out on a limb by saying this, but Governor Mitt Romney will be awarded Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.


Wisconsin is one of the bastions of Progressivism. Wisconsin is also more friendly to Republicans in the last couple of years than it has been in a while, thanks in part to the election of Scott Walker, and his subsequently large victory in the recall election. I think that many people overlook the Scott Walker effect in Wisconsin, and possibly nation-wide. And there is also the Paul Ryan effect in Wisconsin. I have no doubt that Republicans and Independents alike will turn out at the polls for Mitt Romney. The real question is if Barack Obama can offset those gains with large margins in his strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison. Nonetheless, I don’t think that the Democratic turnout will be anything like 2008–not even enough to offset the Republican enthusiasm. 10 votes to Mitt Romney from Wisconsin.


This is the state that all the big pundits are talking about. All of the ads, campaign rallies, and overall attention on Ohio have likely made Ohio’s citizens ready for this election to be over. Ohio, according to the polling numbers, seems to be leaning Mr. Obama’s way. But as far as I see it, those are the  only–maybe the GM/Chrysler thing too–leading indicators that are promising for Barack Obama. Early voting numbers are down by a large margin for Democrats, and up by a large margin for Republicans. Evangelical and Catholics are trending heavily against the Democrats–many of whom voted for Obama in the 2008. I think that what happened in neighboring Indiana is going to spill over into Ohio. The voters in this state have a bit of “buyer’s remorse.” They are ready for a real change this election. Yes, Ohio is going to Romney–and its prized 18 electoral college votes.

Mitt Romney: 305

Barack Obama: 233

This is my final score for the 2012 Election. I would not call it a landslide, but it is surely a big win for the Republicans. There is a big margin of error on my analysis, but I feel pretty confident with it. I have no authority over the statistics, nor am I any “expert” political analyst. These are just the facts that I am seeing on the surface, coupled with my view on the ground, and topped off with a little intuition. I’m excited to see what will happen tomorrow night. If I’m way off, then as I say to my wife all the time, “Oh, well!” If I’m right on, or even close, the first thing that I will do is…laugh! I have to admit, it would be funny if I guessed everything correctly–kind of like if someone were to guess the whole NCAA bracket correctly.

Tomorrow, I’m going to do a little “epilogue” on this series. It will be much shorter, and little bit of an “Election Day Guide” on what to look for, as well as a summary of my overall thoughts on America’s place in the world: no matter which way the election swings.

Home of the Speckhals Family

As of last Friday at around 6:00pm, Andrea and I officially own our first home!  I don’t think that I realized how much was involved, but I am extremely happy with the responsibility we have been blessed with.  We even had a few visitors to: our friend, Salome, from Switzerland, visited last week, and helped A LOT with packing; then, my family came two days after we moved, and helped tremendously with hanging pictures, putting up blinds, and unpacking.  Andrea can tell the rest of the story sometime in the next week…

Anyways, I wanted to share with everyone a few things that I really enjoy about the new house

Sunsets from the back porch (and better yet, sunrises...but no pictures of that yet)
A light post in the front
Someplace to put a grill

And other things, including:

  • A room for the baby
  • New neighbors to get to know
  • Somewhere to spend time outside
  • A nice place to invite friends for dinner
  • A spare room for visiting family and friends
  • The sound of crickets at night instead of cars
We look forward to making many good memories here!

Ahh!…The End of a Beautiful Summer!

…southeastern Pennsylvania style!  You may have read Sharon’s post with this same title, so here is my edition of our ‘end of summer’ here in countryville, Pennsylvania!  In Utah, summer means hiking in mountains and canyons, rodeos, and Utah Statehood days; in our neck of the woods, it means stocking and storing up Summer’s Bounty!

Last year, I posted about canning tomatoes, something I had never done before!  Then I tasted the canned tomatoes.  I was sold on them.  The problem was, in January, I ran out.  And then it was, that I decided, rain or shine, this next summer, I would can tomatoes, and I would can a lot of them!  So last week I did twenty-four quarts, and may have more to come!  Have you ever tasted home-canned tomatoes?  Suffice it to say, I don’t mind if I never taste store-bought canned tomatoes again!Oh yes, and those green beans are actually remnants of last summer’s bounty!  They have a story of their own you can read if you missed it last year!

Then there is the sweet corn.  Oh, the sweet corn!  A dear friend (and even more dearer now!) blanched and froze corn with another lady from church.  Kindly, she offered to give us a bag.  I expected one ziploc bag of frozen fresh corn for us to taste.  Well, she awarded us with a grocery bag full of sweet corn!  Wow, what a blessing!  We tasted it for the first time last Sunday.  I hate to be prejudice, but it had to be the best I remember!  It had no sugar added to it, and yet was soooooo sweet!  And the flavor and even texture were perfect!  Come to find out, it was from this church lady’s Amish neighbors.  Well, they must know the secret to raising and harvesting sweet corn!

Then there are all the berries!  Last year we picked wine berries, a type of red raspberry, and I also picked blueberries.  Well, this year I went the easy route, and simply bought blueberries and strawberries.  I had to get up a good store of strawberries for Dustin’s favorite smoothie: Strawberry-Banana-Orange Juice.  Bananas are still easy to find in the winter, as is orange juice, but strawberries go from $1-2/quart to $5-6/quart!

And last, but not least, we made refrigerator pickles.  Dustin had a taste for pickles, and so after some research, we decided to make our own.  We found a good recipe, put the spices into the jars, sliced and chopped cucumbers to fill them, and added the vinegar and water.  They look mighty tasty, but we have to wait one more week for them to ‘pickle’ before eating them.

And there you have it…this time of year is very busy here in rural PA!  There are produce stands all over the place, not to mention the farm markets; and some ladies at our church are very busy canning and freezing and pickling!  We certainly don’t compare to the stockpiles some families amass, but we do make our own feeble attempt to preserve Summer’s Bounty!